Laser cutting with Vectorworks

Lasersnijden met Vectorworks - Snijlab

In this tutorial you will learn how to turn a 2D Vectorworks drawing into a laser drawing. As an example we use a simple facade for an architectural model (scale model).

Vectorworks is a computer program that allows you to draw in 2D and 3D. It is available for Windows and OSX. Vectorworks uses a .vwx file format but can also import and export .pdf and .dwg drawings.

Vectorworks is:

  • easy to learn
  • suitable for drawing in 2D and 3D

Download our Vectorworks template here . The Classes, Layers and Sheets have been set up here so you can get started right away. Now you can sign!

  • Draw your 2D drawing in scale 1:1, or convert your existing 2D drawing to scale 1:1 by scaling it.
  • To give the lines a color, it is important which 'Classes' the objects are in (see the drawing rules ).

The distinction between cutting and engraving is made on the basis of colors:
Blue (RGB 0,0,255) lines are cut
Red (RGB 255,0,0) lines are engraved as a line
Magenta (RGB 255,0,255) closed lines are engraved as flat
Gray (RGB 128,128,128) lines are ignored (useful as guide lines, or help text)

  • Draw according to the drawing rules in the correct 'Classes':
    Put cutting lines in the Class 'cutting'
    Put engraving lines in the Class 'line engraving'
    Put engraving surfaces in the Class 'surface engraving'
    Put all lines that should not be cut or engraved in the 'ignore' class

  • Text must be converted to lines before it can be cut or engraved.

  • If you need different parts of the same material, you can combine them into one drawing (nest). Pay attention to the maximum size of the material you are going to use. You can draw parts all the way to the edge of the plate dimension.

  • When nesting, leave a small space between the parts: at least 2 mm (4 mm for foam).

  • Draw a frame of cutting lines along the edge of your drawing for a neat edge. If you do not draw a frame, we will position the drawing on a plate as we see fit. It is possible that the edges of the plate are sawn instead of lasered.

To quickly give all lines of a Class the correct color, you can adjust the graphical representation of the Class. In the Vectorworks template, the different Classes already have the correct color settings, so you don't have to change anything.

  • To adjust the appearance of a Class, right-click on the Class and then click Edit... Here you can change the 'Fill Style', 'Pen Style', 'Pen Color', 'Opacity' and 'Line Thickness' of modify the objects in the Class. When you are done, press OK

  • Select all lines in the drawing. Make sure that the 'Fill Style', 'Pen Style', 'Pen Color', 'Opacity' and 'Line Thickness' of all lines is set to 'Class Style'.

  • Check whether the color of the lines is now correct.

  • Place a 'Viewport' with the correct scale on a 'Sheet Layer'.

  • Click File > Export > Export PDF…
    Select PDF under 'Format:'

  • Click on Export

  • Choose a folder, name the file and click Save

On our website, drag the .pdf file into the upload field.

Check carefully whether:

  • the size is correct
  • the colors of the preview match the intended edits

Blue = cut completely
Red = line/vector engraving
Magenta = surface engraving
Gray = no operation / layer to ignore

Please note: unrecognized colors and layer names are automatically read as 'cutting'. These lines appear blue in the preview.

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